Monday, December 06, 2010

I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg

I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg is a novel full of wonderful characters who live in the south and are simply trying to make it from one day to the next.  Except for Maggie, who has decided to commit suicide.  Unfortunately, her plans often go awry as one coincidence after another keeps her from following through with her plans.  As she adds another layer of white out to the date of her suicide note, Maggie’s friends and coworkers, Brenda and Ethel, face their own challenges while dealing with the loss of a dearly appreciated employer.

Flagg does have a way with creating interesting people.  Even when you may not be able to personally identify with their circumstances, you can like them well enough to care about their story.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much story here.  The coincidences that keep Maggie from killing herself quickly become contrived and by a quarter of the way through the book most readers will know how this one is going to end.

The ending itself is so neatly tied up that it leaves little satisfaction.  And although Flagg’s characters are usually deeply layered, most of the characters in this novel are not so much inspired as they are predictable.  Where oh where are Evelyn Couch and Idgy Threadgood of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café or even Neighbor Dorothy of Welcome to the World, Baby Girl?  They aren’t here.  And because they aren’t here, the novel really isn’t up to Flagg’s typically comic level.  This is a nice enough book but nice is easy to find, interesting, apparently, is not quite so easy.

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